We often underestimate our capacity to reinvent ourselves

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Arakawa River, Saitama, Japan | Photo by Zak Kaplan

I was listening to a podcast.

Another scene in a film played out as your real life.

I am in Japan, driving back late one night to the farm I’ve been working on. I spent the day alone, in thought, in the evening at the onsen hot spring baths. I’m alone more often these days, still alone, unintentionally having not returned myself to the comforts of a relationship.

I’ve spent the day thinking about my life, and what brought me here. And suddenly I’m driving through dark wooded hills talking to myself.

"Remember when you were in Cuba when you were dropped off in a small dirt road town looking for a casa, and these guys pick you up in a rusted out junker and they reek like alcohol, one of them with extreme eczema, and they drive you to another casa, and you think this is how I die if this were a movie. Where it felt like a movie. And now you’re here in Japan driving through the mountains. Another scene in a film about your life."

By this point it’s no one but me and I’ve started to raise my voice. I’m quitting smoking. I have that sudden amount of unknown, unevaporated, negative energy that comes with quitting nicotine.

"Your whole god-damned life, it’s been as good as a movie."

I take a turn sharper than expected. Manage the clutch, release into gear.

And now, fully aware of it, I’m shouting.

"What else did you want. What else did you expect? Did you think that it was supposed to mean something?"

I fall silent. At first because of the absurdity and then because of what I’ve just been hearing-saying. Then at no one but myself again, half-defeated, "Put that on paper and film it.

"In 400 meters your destination will be on your left"

The remainder, driven in silence.

Written by

Traveler, writer, bread-maker. Experiences of heart-mind, perspectives on love, loss, change. A human condition.

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